Walter leaving and shift to XP.

Joshua N Pritikin jpritikin at pobox.com
Tue Apr 22 19:25:12 EDT 2008


On Tue, Apr 22, 2008 at 05:29:58PM -0400, Ivan Krstić wrote:
> "Eventually, Negroponte added, Windows might be the sole operating  
> system ... Negroponte said he was mainly concerned with putting as  
> many laptops as possible in children's hands."
> 
> -- via Associated Press
> <http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hXa0O9XLMsWfaqt-sI9FqFy2IewgD9073PPG0 
>  >

Naughty Ivan, you are quoting out of context: "Eventually, Negroponte 
added, Windows might be the sole operating system, and Sugar would be 
educational software running on top of it."

Considering the complete sentence, it is clear to me that this is a case 
of the reporter being confused by technology. We all know that Sugar 
could never run on Windows as well it as can run on Linux. The laptop 
might run Windows or Linux or both, but not Sugar on Windows.

The article continues: "That might disappoint advocates of open-source 
software who helped bankroll OLPC and cheered the challenge it 
represented to Microsoft's dominance."

Sure, I would be disappointed. But let's look at that scenario. Suppose 
OLPC was bought out by Microsoft and all laptops came loaded with 
Windows. OK, at least we still have Sugar. The game changes thusly: How 
long will it take to make Sugar better than the proprietary 
alternatives?

But that's basically the same game we are playing, in any case. And we 
have been playing that game for decades and winning.

The article continues: "Wayan Vota, whose OLPC News blog reported 
Bender's departure Monday, said he feared Sugar would get neglected on 
XOs that run Windows."

Whose side is Wayan Vota on anyhow? I am not sure whether he is biased, 
but his ability to analyze news is nil. He's a rumor mill. He thrives on 
hyperbole and unconfirmed reports. Get a grip people.

At least Ivan quoted this part properly: "Negroponte said he was mainly 
concerned with putting as many laptops as possible in children's hands."

I don't know about you, but that makes sense to me. Carol Lerche is 
right: we need to be pragmatic and get this laptop into the hands of the 
children who can benefit even if that means our software stack is 
tainted with a little proprietary software.

By my judgment, I'm glad Richard Stallman isn't running OLPC. He would 
have delayed the launch until we have a GPL'd replacement for the mesh 
firmware. As it is now, we have a laptop which is more pure license-wise 
than any other laptop available at about half the cost of the 
competition. And we have had mesh networking in production for about six 
months. Who else has mesh networking? Nobody. That's not an ideal 
position; we should replace the firmware. None the less, it is a pretty 
good position.

To hold that position, we have got to stop wasting time discussing FUD 
and make the software work. As I noted, we have to do that anyway, even 
if we didn't have a lovely green laptop as a delivery platform. The race 
is on for educational software. Even when teachers are smart enough to 
prefer free software, teachers are going to use whatever software is 
available. Let's make free software available.


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